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busy PORTers
Mapping Sitting at the Cooley
Troca Brasil Lunchtime Lecture Series
Taking Place Diary Part 3
Taking Place Diary Part 2
Ploeger at Newspace
Portland gallery "going" in August
How to Be an Artist
Putt-Putt
Taking Place Diary Part 1
Last Days of August
We're Not Gonna Take It

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Tuesday 08.30.05

busy PORTers

PORT's staff are a busy bunch as I sit on my duff typing this:

Katherine along with her husband Philippe recieved a fine review from the Oregonian & Jenn does the infamous Ultra Q and chats about collecting in the WWeek.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on August 30, 2005 at 23:20 | Comments (0)

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Mapping Sitting at the Cooley

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Walid Raad, one of the two artists behind Mapping Sitting, is best known for his ongoing project documenting the history of Lebanon through videos, photographs and original documents. Working under the guise of a fictional non-profit collective, The Atlas Group, Raad freely intermingles historical fact with fiction, introducing fictional figures and experts within his retelling of Lebanese contemporary history. For Raad, who prefers to call The Atlas Group an imaginary foundation rather than a fictional entity, the insertion of these fictions alongside historically accurate documents and accounts is a way to open up multiple routes of access and introduce a multiplicity of discourses previously unheard in mainstream media and established academic versions of history.

Although the contents of Mapping Sitting, unlike Raad's work as The Atlas Foundation, are historically correct, the exhibition also deals with the question of the malleability of historical retelling. Raad and collaborator Akram Zaatari, a filmmaker and co-founder of the Fondation Arabe pour l'Image (FAI) in Beirut, drew from the archives of the FAI to create a survey of Arab photographic portraiture from the last century.

Posted by Katherine Bovee on August 30, 2005 at 9:47 | Comments (0)

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Monday 08.29.05

Troca Brasil Lunchtime Lecture Series

I first encountered Ernesto Neto's sensual soft sculptures at London's ICA in 2000 and was as intrigued by their seductive forms as by learning that their interactive nature caused gallery attendants to continually tend to minor tears in the thin lycra fabric. Neto's large, biomorphic, womb-like interactive sculptures are complete with orifices and dangling appendages, and must be seen in person to experience their full sensory impact.

This fall, Neto's work comes to Portland as part of Troca Brasil, an exchange between PNCA and A Gentil Carioca, the gallery that Neto co-founded in Rio de Janiero. Neto, along with fellow founders Marcio Botner and Laura Lima, kick off the exhibition early this week with a series of lunchtime lectures on their work in the upcoming exhibition, which opens this Thursday. On Friday, the series culminates in an evening lecture by Neto, who is by far the most widely acclaimed and exhibited artist in the group.

Marcio Botner lecture • Monday, Aug 29th • 12.30 - 1:30 pm
Laura Lima lecture • Tuesday, Aug 30th • 12.30 - 1:30 pm
Ernesto Neto, Marcio Botner & Laura Lima lecture on A Gentil Carioca • Wednesday, August 31st• 12.30 - 1:30 pm
Ernesto Neto lecture • Friday., Sept 2nd • 7 pm


All lectures are free and take place at PNCA, Swigert Commons • 1241 NW Johnson St • Tel. 503.821.8962

Posted by Katherine Bovee on August 29, 2005 at 8:12 | Comments (0)

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Taking Place Diary Part 3

Directly after Zicmuse fled the premises, we met Joseph Del Pesco, who gave us a tour of his posters.

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Joe Del Pesco

Joseph lives in San Francisco where he works at a press. Over the years he has accumulated a collection through trading and by printing posters designed by artists. Del Pesco sees poster collection as an alternative to fine art collection that is less materialistic as well as more portable. One of the most notable in his collection is a poster John Baldassari created as a campaign idea for California Public Libraries. It shows a beautiful young woman taking a break from a weighty biography of James Joyce in order to look up and smile seductively. Its caption: Learn to Read. It has the hallmark of the best of Baldassari. It is subtly disjointed...

Posted by Isaac Peterson on August 29, 2005 at 1:12 | Comments (1)

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Friday 08.26.05

Taking Place Diary Part 2

How to...Create a Cultural District (and Have it Vanish Into the Morning Mists of Dawn)

Continuing along 2nd street just before 12:30 Jessica and I found Matthew Stadler sitting behind a small desk on an elevated street corner. His reading light illuminates a stack of paper and a minidisk recorder with which he is intently fiddling.

We sit down in one of the chairs and he welcomes us to help ourselves to a beer.

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Matthew Stadler

He is going to start his performance exactly at 12:30. What time is it now? He is from Seattle but he finds the art scene here much richer, and travels back and forth frequently. He is a fiction writer, but finds it enriching to operate within a community of artists. He is associated with a radical, individual centered cultural movement in Europe called Amsterdam 2.0. The idea behind Amsterdam 2.0 is that the citizens are writing a constitution for themselves, one they prefer to live by, rather than the constitution of the government. Their constitution values the rights of the individual at all costs. Stadler was commissioned to write a piece of short fiction in honor of the beginning of Amsterdam 2.0. He saw a parallel between Amsterdam 2.0's assertion of the rights of the individual and the plight of turn of the century immigrants on the west coast. His story is called City of Wool, and is set in 1914 in Astoria, Oregon. It follows the lives of immigrants from the Middle East who are gradually assimilated into their new surroundings. His story seems driven completely by vivid, sensual imagery, and it is easy to see why Stadler spends so much of his time associating with artists. His descriptions are lucid and poetic. He identifies his work as a prose piece: just barely...

Posted by Isaac Peterson on August 26, 2005 at 2:35 | Comments (2)

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Thursday 08.25.05

Ploeger at Newspace

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Although Portland does not fall victim to the kind of late summer heat that drives people away from many other cities this time of year, August has been marked by a typical late summer lull, as artists and gallerists gear up before this fall's hyperactive roster of exhibitions and events.

That said, there are several shows you may want to catch this weekend before the summer runs out (see Jeff's picks in yesterday's post). One show I recommend is Ann Ploeger's theatrical photographic portraits of the artist's friends in domestic spaces at Newspace. Her portraits are marked by intentionally overworked compositions, highly saturated color, deadpan humor, strategic use of props and harsh lighting. In a review that ran earlier this month, DK Row chided Ploeger for her high theatrics, but these qualities, along with the fact that the photos invite voyeuristic intrigue, are what make these large scale portraits so likable. It's kind of a survey of how the other, hipper half lives.

Row aptly positioned Ploeger as an artist exploring a contemporary equivalent of 19th century painted portraiture. Ploeger chose subjects that tend to embrace a thoroughly retro sensibility (probably just a sign of Portland's obsession with the second-hand aesthetic). The straight faces of her subjects and overtly staged compositions employed by Ploeger give the portraits a somewhat anachronistic feel, harking back to early photographic portraiture at a time where technology didn't allow for a great degree of dynamism. In addition, Ploeger exploits light in interesting ways that give her compositions a painterly theatricality. Most of Ploeger's indoor photographs use harsh lighting that creates dark shadows and well-placed glare, strategically using natural light in combination with prominent placement of domestic lamps. In many outdoor photos, she intentionally positions her subjects in a way that create intense black shadows that contrast with overly saturated areas of sunlight.

In her artist statement, Ploeger explains that her "body of work attempts to capture the subject's true self," an unsettling statement that rings false in light of her work. Ploeger's portraits are emotionally cool in a way that has much more to do with Wolfagang Tillmans' fashionable photos of close acquaintances that Nan Goldin's revealing portraits of her friends. Looking at Ploeger's work, I find nothing revealing about the subject's "true self." The most revealing thing about these portraits is the way that they emphasize the self-conscious posturing of the subjects in everything from the way they position themselves in front of the camera to the conscientious lifestyle choices evidenced in their domestic realms. Perhaps Ploeger's quest to find a sense of truth or authenticity in her photographs explains some of the inconsistencies in the show, for her best work is where artifice unabashedly reigns.

Through August 28 • Newspace Center for Photography
1632 SE 10th Ave • Tel. 503.963.1935

Posted by Katherine Bovee on August 25, 2005 at 10:11 | Comments (0)

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Wednesday 08.24.05

Portland gallery "going" in August

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Brown, Essenhigh by Zach Kircher

I don't expect much from August gallery shows but there were more than a few things for the curious this month. You've still got through Saturday the 27th to catch most of em.

Actually, I'm still surprised at how fast Portland is growing up in the Pearl District and some of the newer buildings are finally showing a new boldness in design. I predict a second phase of condos seeking to distinguish themselves from the rather OK designs that have already gone up.

As for art my favorite work in August was Zach Kircher's, "Brown, Essenhigh" at Savage Art Resources. (gallery closing thoughts at end of this post, art first folks)

Kircher's one hell of a painter. Will we see Cecily Brown in Playboy or Maxim? It's possible (she's been in Vogue enough), but truth be told this painting is more revealing than the cheesecake.

I like both painters but Inka Essenhigh is better and less of a pouty-panderer than...

Posted by Jeff Jahn on August 24, 2005 at 21:57 | Comments (0)

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How to Be an Artist

Do you want my advice about how to become a successful artist? I'm not so sure that you do. I have two words for you: MOX IE. Being a product of the academic art system myself, I have advice you might find contradictory, but let me explain. As you advance, there is a point in school when you realize that you are paying quite a lot of money for the experience of two simple things: a studio and resources which allow you to pursue your work independently, and participation in a ready-made artist community. Many people installed in an academic program take those things for granted, and just hope to skate through to greater earning potential.

My advice is this: Stop worrying so much about being accepted by galleries or academic institutions. Don't waste your mental and spiritual energies marketing yourself. Work as little as possible, as work is the great enemy of artists everywhere. Work just enough to fund a studio for yourself and buy whatever supplies you need. Ask for help from other people, you will be suprised how much help you will be given. Lose your apprentice mindset. Lose your student mindset. When people ask you what you do, don't ever say "I'm trying to be an artist" or "I'm trying to make it as an artist" say "I am an artist." It isn't arrogance, it's the truth. Don't suck up to anyone. Claim your own power. Put all your eggs in the same basket. Be reckless. Be daring. Be defiant.

Don't think about shows at all. Think about the art you are doing. Then reach out, not to institutions, but to other people in the same position as you are. Other artists. Band together and support each other, encourage each other to work more, share studios and keep each other on track, work your heart out and enjoy it, drink whiskey and critique each other late at night on the weekends. Build an artist's community with integrity and galleries will come to you. If there is an older artist you admire write them a letter. The list of older artists who have taken me under their wing and given me guidance is far too long to write here. They will be flattered and will probably ask you to dinner. At the very least you will get a friendly rejection from someone you really admire. Here's a letter Jasper Johns wrote to me telling me he had no need for a studio assistant but wishing me good luck. Isn't it great to have Jasper Johns wish you luck?

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There's a giant book called Who's Who in American Art. Using it you can contact any artist you admire in the US. Matthew Barney always needs assistants. I think his policy is that he gives anyone an unpaid trial period and then if you do well you get on the payroll. So save some money and go! The first thing you'll learn is the exact temperature a refigerated room needs to be to sculpt in Vaseline. Regardless of what you think of his work, a year working for him would be equivalent to or better than any academic program.

To be an artist there are only two rules: Work as hard as you can in your studio, and make friends with as many other artists as you can.

In the immortal words of MC5: KICK OUT THE JAMS!

Here's a relevant link on the same issue: foot in the door

Posted by Isaac Peterson on August 24, 2005 at 11:53 | Comments (2)

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Tuesday 08.23.05

Putt-Putt

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Don your finest, brightest, shiniest, putting attire. Tonight and tomorrow, Holocene presents the Second Annual Mini-Golf Art Invitational. The Mini-Council of Jurors has again selected a group of outstanding local artists and designers, presenting them with the challenge of creating an on-site mini-golf hole that is both functional and artistic. These will be unveiled over the next two nights to the spirit of friendly competition, drinks and dancing. Patrons are invited to test the cunning designs and their skill on the course then cast their votes for their favorites. Plaids, pleats, caps and oxfords are all encouraged. There will even be a photographer on hand offering souvenir snapshots.

Participating artsts/designers including Ryan Jeffry, Elise Bartow and Logan McLain, Shoshonah Oppenheim and Bonnie Barrett, WK12, Paul Lynch, Holst Architecture, KidMonkey, Lightbox, Adrian Melnick, KPSU, Scott Mazariegos, Adam Sorensen and Midori Hirose, and Johnne Eschelman.

Deejays will be spinning odd hits throughout the event.
Performance at 11pm on Tues by San Francisco dancepunk stars Hey Willpower
Awards announced at 10pm on the 24th
Tuesday, Aug 23rd, 9p - 2a • Wednesday, Aug 24th, 2p - 2a • $5 dollars • 21+
Holocene • 1001 SE Morrison • Tel. 503.239.7639


*flier by the illustrious Ryan Jacob Smith

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on August 23, 2005 at 14:28 | Comments (0)

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Taking Place Diary Part 1

How to...Create a Cultural District (and Have it Vanish Into the Morning Mists of Dawn)

My friend Jessica and I attended the latest Taking Place event on Thursday, and dutifully documented our experiences for PORT. The second person we met was Sam Baldwin Gould. It was just after midnight and intending to be fashionably late (by seven minutes) we arrived at quarter past the hour. Sam was handing out programs which gave viewers instructions on how, exactly, to find the art. Standing under an overpass at 215 SE Morrison street, he looked more like a subversive political agitator than an artist. He gave us a stack of booklets to bring back to a project called Tailgating occurring out of the back of a powder blue Subaru. One of the Tailgaiting artists, Nat Andreini, was the first person we had met, a few minutes earlier.

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Sam Baldwin Gould - Walking Tour of My Old Neighborhood

Sam's piece is an audio walking tour of the area, his old neighborhood, Produce Row. Listening to the CD later, I found it a loving and detailed catalog of his favorite graffiti, parts of buildings that were falling apart in aesthetically striking ways, posters that had been partially torn down leaving swaths of white paper that looked like ghosts...

Posted by Isaac Peterson on August 23, 2005 at 1:09 | Comments (0)

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Monday 08.22.05

Last Days of August

Two institutional shows open today. If you're looking for some late summer art-ing, this is the perfect opportunity. Plus, if you're dying to beat the heat, chances are good they're air conditioned...

mapping_sitting05.jpg Mapping Sitting

At the Cooley Gallery, Mapping Sitting: On Portraiture & Photography, an installation by Walid Raad and Akram Zaatari, curated from the archives of the Arab Image Foundation in Beirut, Lebanon. "Raad and Zaatari reveal how Arab portrait photography not only pictured individuals and groups, but also functioned as commodity, luxury item, and adornment... Collectively, the photographs convey pluralistic and dynamic Middle Eastern communities through the lenses of indigenous photographers—images far different from photos of the region circulating widely today in the popular press."
August 22nd through September 30th
Cooley Gallery at Reed College • 3203 SE Woodstock Blvd • Tel. 503.771.1112

David Eckard (PNCA faculty and artist) presents a new body of installation-based work, Heroes and Apparitions. "Specter, fictive recollection, temporal marker, arrested gesture and the potential theatrics dormant in articulated space." In Eckard fashion, it should involve some innovative apparatus and unusual machinery.
August 22nd through October 15th
Manuel Izquierdo Gallery at PNCA • 1241 NW Johnson St. • Tel. 503.226.4391

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on August 22, 2005 at 0:11 | Comments (0)

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Friday 08.19.05

We're Not Gonna Take It

Amos Latteier was co-opting Power Point presentations as art before David Byrne published his book on Power Point as fertile creative medium. Last year, during PICA's tba festival, Latteier delved into cell phones as a device for disseminating audio tours of urban wildlife in Portland's Park blocks. During tonight's Taking Place event, learn about Latteier's next cell phone project as he explains his latest endeavor, entitled We're Not Gonna Take It, involving the use of cell phones as a means of political protest.

Friday Aug 19 • 7p Aalto Lounge (back room) • 3356 SE Belmont St

Posted by Katherine Bovee on August 19, 2005 at 8:53 | Comments (2)

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Critical Cop Out ...Cop Out

After reading Todd Gibson's recent diatribe about his least favorite critical cop out I thought it was as good as time as any to point out some over-used critical cop outs.

1) quoting from an artist's statement in the first paragraph

2) using the word "postmodern" as a postmodern pastiche of postmodernity in a way that contextualizes the contemporary modern post-hyperbole world of the prefuture.

3) "Neo"-anything …after the matrix it needs to go away for at least 10 years

4) simply describing the show as a form of critical review

5) lists

6) using the word "slickness" as a pejorative and describing high production values as some inherently damning trait... exactly how is that? Did the artist accidentally produce something with impeccable finish? (For our non-Portland readers this is an issue because Portland's production values have climbed astronomically in certain cases and the staunch, old-time regionalists who have seen the city rapidly grow in sophistication now yearn for art that looks like it was whittled by beavers).

7) describing an artist's career as "on fire" then using it as the only justification for giving it more attention

Posted by Jeff Jahn on August 19, 2005 at 2:08 | Comments (6)

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Thursday 08.18.05

Artist Infestation

Catch a warm summer night before they're gone. Grab your flashlight and meet at 215 SE Morrison at midnight for tonight's Taking Place event, How To...Create a Cultural District (and Have it Vanish Into the Morning Mists of Dawn). Upon arrival, you will be provided with a map informing you of the locales of site-specific artwork. All pieces are situated on the streets, in the doorways, broken windows, trees, open bay doors of produce trucks within a five block radius of Portland's Produce Row neighborhood. Participating artists include Le Ton Mite, Jo del Pesco, 0009, Khris Soden, Sam Gould, Jessica Hutchins, Harrell Fletcher, Theo Angell, Nat Andreini and R. Scott Porter. Till 3am.

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on August 18, 2005 at 16:07 | Comments (0)

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Troy Briggs + Amanda Ryan = 114

Gallery 114 presents a two-person show featuring Amanda Ryan and Troy Briggs. The show is entitled Portland Modern Showcase.

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Troy Briggs, in a spare and nervous drawing style, attempts to articulate nameless emotional events. His fluid drawing style is limited and elegant. His subject matter is saturated with domestic melancholy. Distorted female silhouettes emerge from the shower or float suspended before wallpaper patterns. Briggs creates ink drawings and uses neutral watercolors sparely to focus his compositions on the central figure. Most of the drawings are then coated with acrylic gel medium, which interacts with the ink and...

Posted by Isaac Peterson on August 18, 2005 at 1:50 | Comments (0)

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Tuesday 08.16.05

The Whitney Drill

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Wrong Whitney, and can't she afford a cordless drill?

Well folks it is Whitney Biennial studio visit time again and since August is a notoriously dead month it's a topic ripe for near pointless conjecture. (Although Portland surprisingly still has a bit going on and then some.)

Just in case you haven't come out of your studio for 8 months, Chrissie Iles and Philippe Vergne are the co-curators this time out. Don't worry, odds are they probably won't visit you or your favorite artists...

For fun, let's explore some potential themes and trends for Whitney 06?

1) More fetish of fantasy escapism as a metaphor for liberal impotence?

2) Artists might be chosen through a series of photo shoots for Vogue… or better yet, pick only "seasoned" artists just to piss off all the young whippersnappers under 55. (call it the Boomer Biennial. I like it and I'm 30+ish. Has the whole youth thing gotten old?)

3) Just to keep the clichés fresh, declare "photography is dead"

4) Focus on the habits of infamous museum directors instead of art… Thomas Krens, Barry Munitz and Malcom Rogers?

5) Just rent out the Whitney to NADA and get it over with. Not gonna happen, but Clear Channel might eventually do it…

Seriously, will it go political like the recent Venice Biennale? Or should it present artists who actively look at the future and its challenges instead of the backwards nostalgia of the last biennial? Will it be about paranoia and pleasure in keeping with the current state of the nation? Stasis as a theme? Maybe something about the demographic tension between the Boomers and everyone else?

Will it travel as Tyler Green has suggested in the Wall Street Journal?

Hmmmm lets look at the past, the 2002 Whitney was chock full of youth subculture mongering, it fetished doodle-fantasy and the trend stuck. It's best offering, the Forcefield collective, didn't stay together too long after being discovered though.

At WB2002, The Royal Art Lodge's influence was everywhere but being Canadians they couldn't take part. It's also very likely the WB2002 had too many artists which weakened its arguments and suffocated people. Critics destroyed it, possibly because it wasn't New York centric (at a time when New York had just come under attack). Then again, they probably destroyed it because almost all of it lacked staying power, except Chris Johanson. (its not because he's in Portland either... he's often really good)

The 2004 Whitney was hailed as a godsend, mostly because the theme of nostalgia was easy for most everyone to relate to. It also seemed attuned to "the market" and doing so again would look bad. Yes, WB2004 was all about New York despite the fact the art world has fragmented. Somehow WB2006 needs more teeth than the previous two and the now rampant quasi-Victoriana ain't the toothiest of genres.

One last thing, the recent Greater New York show would have been a critical dud in LA, Seattle, Houston or Portland too. Standards are up in the West and each city has its better artists that make New York's B+ team look rather bad. Lets just see A team art please? (and no nostalgic Mr. T references?)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on August 16, 2005 at 21:03 | Comments (0)

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D-irty Dirty

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Tonight at Pacific Switchboard, you have two opportunities to get your kicks. The fine folks at Found magazine roll through town with a PowerPoint presentation of Dirty Found, a "celebration of lost and found letters, notes and pervy photos" including amateur boudoir snapshots, drawings, doodles, journal entries and naughty love notes. In the sprit of the magazine, this memorialization of lost personal effects should be hilarious, embarrassing, and at times, sleazy. You're even asked to bring your own dirty finds to share.
For adults only
Tuesday Aug 16 • 2 shows • 8 & 10p
Pacific Switchboard • 4637 North Albina Ave

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on August 16, 2005 at 1:01 | Comments (0)

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Monday 08.15.05

Emily Ginsburg at Nine Gallery

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Social Studies #14 (detail)

This month at Nine Gallery, Emily Ginsburg exhibits work from Social Studies, a series of stark black and white silkscreens that continues her ongoing interest in human behavior and psychology. Each panel holds an interconnected tangle of silhouetted signs and symbols rooted in a graphic vocabulary that Ginsburg has culled from modern and vintage electronics, industrial forms and comics. Ginsburg's previous installations and video work make use of the body directly, and in works like Blotto, she employs imagery of body parts and gestures. Within this new series of work, she instead references human behavior in a very cool, distanced, academic way, using a set of abstracted symbols to infer such social forces as communication, networks and human conflict.

Works in the show fall into three levels of complexity and the installation emphasizes these differences, resulting in an unfortunate unevenness. One wall contains a set of simplified images, many paring down a simple representation of conflict and tension between abstracted forces. The facing wall contains a series of imagery with more complexity, but the similarity of scale between elements falls flat at times. Ginsburg's large silkscreens are by far the most successful pieces in the show, and the expanded palate of symbols and formal variation give the pieces a visual complexity that the smaller prints lack.

Ginsburg's large prints employ fluid composition and have a diffuse energy that recalls work by contemporary painters such as Paul Henry Ramirez, but Ginsburg downplays explicit figurative references, relying on the cerebral and visual rather than the visceral impulse. All of Ginsburg's canvases stay within the edges of their borders and act as self-contained compositions that are the visual equivalent of sampling, albeit in a strictly formalized manner...

Posted by Katherine Bovee on August 15, 2005 at 14:50 | Comments (0)

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Sunday 08.14.05

Mixtape



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The next time you're sauntering around the Pearl District on first Thursday take some time to wander a little more expansively. Walk through the Baghdad-esque art bazaar that spontaneously occurs near 13th Ave. Explore the proliferation of self start-ups and oblique instant galleries that spring to life once a month in China town. What do you have to lose? Your worst-case scenario is that you hike up more flights of stairs, see a little more decorative living room cubism, and drink a little more wine than usual. But without daring exploration, where would we be today? Without Magellan, would the rest of society ever have guessed the globe was circumnavigable? Without Galileo would we ever have admitted the solar system was heliocentric? Without Lewis and Clark would Oregon ever even have been discovered?

Check out one of the best self start-ups in China Town, the Starling gallery, managed by David Stein and Suniti Dernovsek. These two young people make great contributions to the PDX arts community through pure moxie. In addition to creating a unique forum for the visual arts, Suniti is active as a dancer/ choreographer.

Upon entering the Starling, You will find an energetic youth driven atmosphere that is as conversant in the high culture of art as it is in the low culture of DIY post-punk democratic community. This is an excellent arena for the artwork of Lisa Beyer. Beyer's new work engages a specific cultural subset that if not for the start-up chutzpah of the Starling, would otherwise be eclipsed in the lunar shadow of wine and cheese cast by the pearl.

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Beyer's show, entitled, It's Ugly, but is it Art? is an interchange between several socio-cultural contexts. The work is rooted in DIY street community and music, but infiltrates...

Posted by Isaac Peterson on August 14, 2005 at 17:07 | Comments (0)

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Friday 08.12.05

Vladmir at Dunes

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Tonight Vladimir (two-time reigning champ of the PDX Film Fest Invitational) presents two Vladmaster viewings, Jeremiah Barnes and Actaeon at Home at Dunes. These enchanting hand-made Viewmaster narratives are unlike anything you've seen before. If you haven't caught one yet, tonight's your chance. Also on the ticket is a traveling puppet show from New Orleans, a slide show from the quirky and eclectic Beau Von HinklyWinkle, and a short film by Miss Pussycat. All of this at 10pm behind the unmarked door at 1909 NE MLK. A word to the wise, it can sometimes get smoky in the small bar. 21+

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on August 12, 2005 at 13:47 | Comments (0)

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Thursday 08.11.05

Bend it like Bocci, Boyle and Durost

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Ryan Boyle's The Greenhouse Effect

"Bent" as a show title might refer the fabrication process, the artist's intention or to their determination but I'm fairly certain its just there to keep troublesome art critics from inserting their typically unrelated digressions.

At least Bent is a red herring chosen by the artists. Actually, Bent is really just an excuse to see three of Portland's best young installation artists, Chandra Bocci, Ryan Boyle and Jesse Durost.

In a scene that includes more experienced installation artists like Bruce Conkle, Matthew Picton, Laura Fritz, David Eckard, Amanda Wojick, T.J. Norris, Bill Will, Port's own Katherine Bovee and Aili Schmeltz etc... there is a lot of serious competition in PDX's close knit art scene.

The first artist, Ryan Boyle makes effective use of space with The Greenhouse Effect. It's comprised of what appears to be late 19th early 20th century utilitarian buildings. They could be stables, canneries, granaries, prisons or gas chambers...it is difficult to say. Boyle gets points for his choice to bridge the space between the wall and a structural support column too.

Inside these purposeless but utilitarian looking buildings are piles of paper circles that are made by paper hole punchers. The effect is a vague miasma similar a twilight zone episode. One has to ask, where are all the people?

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The overall sense is somber and the mostly linear buildings are interconnected...

Posted by Jeff Jahn on August 11, 2005 at 22:42 | Comments (0)

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Takashi Kato and Randell Sims

Stop into the Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) this month for a small but stunning show of figurative expressionist paintings by alumni Randell Sims and Takashi Kato. These talented young painters work with expressive bravura and detailed construction. Both walk a line between intellectual composition and emotional truth.

PNCA has long been a stronghold of figurative expressionism, in part due to the presence of local expressive powerhouse Lucinda Parker. Read more about her presence in the community here: Lucinda.

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In Vaporous Neuro Discord 1-4, Takashi Kato manipulates dripped paint by tilting the canvas to create an intricate grid. Responding to this grid, Kato searches for figurative imagery within his compositions. The agonized figures appear entangled in their surroundings, unable to extricate themselves from the net which vaporizes their bodies and binds them into their environment...

Posted by Isaac Peterson on August 11, 2005 at 10:30 | Comments (0)

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Wednesday 08.10.05

Keeping up and walking

Comparatively, Portland has a lot of art writers... even for a city twice its size and there is a lot of online content to keep up with. Here are some of the best links from PDX and abroad.

The Oregonian's Victoria Blake had a nice review of Eunice Parson's show. Recently there was an appropriate quashing of the latest Portland Art Center show too. For comparison here is PORT on Parsons.

I felt the Parsons show was strong, mature and probably a bit overhung. Not too original (with collage does that matter?) but definitely a valid modernist redux from an octogenarian artist.

The Mercury's John Motley reviews Chris Johanson this week. Last week Justin Westcoat Sanders wrote about the Steve Gutenberg show, stupid but entertaining. Also, the Merc now features the same horrid site redesign that Seattle's The Stranger has inflicted upon its readers.

On Artnet, Donald Kuspit tries to explain the reduction of images into code (and pixels) but misses the historical boat and forgets that the Industrial Revolution was all about making everything in a coded, highly replicable way. Pixels are just an extension of the modularity that the Gutenberg printing press, particle physics, Hargreaves' Spinning Jenny and Henry Ford's assembly line have innovated. That is "the code" modern painters are intuiting. Kuspit's real flaw is coming at it as an art historian instead of a historian. Modern and contemporary art history's epistemology needs lots of help, mostly because it's so new.

The last, but in many ways best link is to the Walking Portland blog. Portland is a city of walkers and that aspect really separates it from places like Seattle, Phoenix and LA etc. In my daily wanderings I notice things and mix with billionaires and bums in a way that profoundly effects my consciousness. It's urban and somehow riding around in a car is inherently suburban. Walking and Portland's appeal to a mass of artists are very related.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on August 10, 2005 at 22:01 | Comments (0)

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Banks Violette the blunted extremist

It looks as if the combination of Banks + Violette + Crap is a magical Google algorithm trifecta driving lots of traffic to PORT. We only mentioned him briefly but apparently there is a partially sated hunger for the topic and PORT hears you. Feel free to describe exactly how, why and what Violette sucks in our comment section...

Unfortunately, we aren't one of those pandering sites and I'm pleased to inform y'all Mr. Violette doesn't quite suck.. He doesn't quite "rock" as hard as Artnet has recently suggested though. Instead, Banks Violette is just another decent showman in the recent spate of decent entertainers with shows originated in New York museums; Matthew Barney, James Lee Bryars and Tim Hawkinson etc.

All traffic in fantasy as a diversion and there is nothing wrong with it… but there is nothing life changing about it either.

Overall, Barney and Violette's somewhat lesser ubiquity has been greased by an increasing need for digestible fantastical showmanship which drives greater audience attendance at museums.

Sure, Violette takes some of the darker parts of heavy metal subculture and creates odd, somewhat evocative memorials to counterculture behavior taken to felonious extremes. It is sincere bad boy art, but any historian 50 years from now is going to find the actual stories of ritualized murder and Norwegian church burning to be the more telling artifacts, not these installations.

In many ways Violette is just trading in a short term aura of contemporary obsessions (evil, heavy metal etc…) which in the current Whitney show's case centers around the story of several Norwegian metal bands attempting to out evil one another. Murders and church burnings occurred.

Yes, the story provokes a "no way… really that happened?" reaction but it is a red herring. The murderous Norwegian metal bands are really just analogs for the looming specter of those Isamic extremists who similarly take their beliefs way outside the mainstream and become terrorists. Basically, Violette is beating around the bush, making a slightly less threatening version of terrorism in the Whitney.

My take is that Violette is a kind of 3rd tier Matthew Barney (a kind of over-popular 2nd tier Salvador Dali type showman himself). Both rely on pageantry.

Violette is very indebted to Barney who takes arcane information popular in all sorts of subcultures be it...

Posted by Jeff Jahn on August 10, 2005 at 7:54 | Comments (2)

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Tuesday 08.09.05

South Beach Showing

Tyler Green has started leaking the line-up for Miami's satellite fairs. No word on the elusive NADA line-up but Portland makes a strong showing at Aqua. Might as well book your reservations now. Should be another fabulous par-tay.

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on August 09, 2005 at 13:06 | Comments (0)

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Interstate

Out of August's first Thursday crop of exhibitions, Dan Gilsdorf's Interstate emerges along side of Bent as the best of downtown.

Interstate is a show of kinetic sculpture and installation. Described by the artist as "mechanical simulacra as homage to human consciousness." Militaristic machines cycle through futile movements. Two rows of army boots stomp up and down in place, setting a plodding rhythm in the center of the gallery. A motor driven brush scrubs the eyes of a plaster head. Tiny, repetitive motorized sculptures project huge shadows on the wall, creating moving dioramas of banal American landscapes. Gilsdorf draws imagery from his own experience: telephone poles passing through the headlights of a westbound car, oil towers looming over the plains, the adolescent emulation of military heroism.

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Gilsdorf examines the relationship between culture and the consciousness of the individual. He concentrates on the fictions culture creates which shape the development of the psyche. Gilsdorf's work is highly ambitious, he reaches for universal descriptors for the cultural framework, as well as for the intricate details of personal experience.

He examines how individual actions and events, when attached to values seen as universal, enlarge to become history, which by definition contains fictions. In order for the present to become processed into the past, it must be fictionalized. Gilsdorf scrutinizes heroism as exemplified by the military, sifting through fictions in pursuit of the true American mindscape...

Posted by Isaac Peterson on August 09, 2005 at 1:32 | Comments (0)

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Golden advice on gallery hunting

Portland is filled to the gills with unsigned artists and a bunch of new galleries are moving in. Yet, many ridiculously talented artists are less than savvy when it comes to approaching these galleries. To the rescue comes Brooklyn gallerist Edward Winkleman with some golden advice here on his eponymous blog.

....and just for fun (because Tuesdays are dull) is this link.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on August 09, 2005 at 0:02 | Comments (2)

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Sunday 08.07.05

Fletcher's Palenque

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Robert Smithson, whose prolific writings and early death in 1973 contributed to his postmortem presence as a figure meriting cult-like adoration among a generation of art students and critics, has again inspired a host of new discussion with the recent retrospective of his work, originating at MOCA last year and currently on view at the Whitney. Appropriately, Harrell Fletcher launched week two of Taking Place last Monday with a "cover" performance of Smithson's slide lecture on the Hotel Palenque.

Smithson's well-documented lecture on the architectural highlights of a dilapidated hotel in Mexico was first given in front of a class of architecture students at the University of Utah in 1972 and lives on as both a transcript (published in Parkett several years ago) and an audio recording of the original lecture. Smithson details the decrepit spaces of the hotel, conceiving of the aesthetics of neglect in a mock-academic fashion. Although his offhand comments ludicrously elevate this crumbling hotel to monumental status, Smithson's fascination with entropy, monuments and contemporary ruins lend a certain ambiguity to the lecture, as the Hotel Palenque embodies the notion of a living contemporary ruin.

Fletcher has presented Smithson's lecture several times and documentation of Smithson's piece is cited as part of Learning to Love You More, Fletcher's ongoing collaboration with Miranda July. Fletcher's interest in re-presenting this lecture is not surprising, since much of his artwork and collaborative ventures involve excavating art from everyday life. Throughout the lecture, Smithson lingers over such details as the "spiky, irregular, cantilevered effect" of rebar jutting out of a partially demolished wall; an empty chair in a deserted dance hall "suggesting the transitoriness of time and the universe" and also providing "a better view of the scaffolding in the roof"; and "the dried pool with the suspension bridge going across it."

What did surprise me was Fletcher's insistence in the post-lecture chat that he was presenting the lecture in a neutral manner in order to allow the audience members to decide for themselves whether or not Smithson gave his slide presentation as a mockery of academia or a sincere tribute to these contemporary ruins. Fletcher read the lecture quickly and without intonation, and many of Smithson's spontaneous and humorous comments were lost because of this. While critics tend to note the tongue-in-cheek nature of the recording of Smithson's lecture, Fletcher, by "neutralizing" the piece, seemingly attempts to imbue the piece with newfound sincerity. It was disappointing that Fletcher so strongly disavowed his power to retranslate this piece either in terms of contemporary practice or within his own set of artistic vocabulary and the performance seemed to be no more than a nod to an art hero, perhaps a tribute better served by his inclusion of the transcript on the Learning to Love You More website.

Posted by Katherine Bovee on August 07, 2005 at 15:29 | Comments (2)

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Friday 08.05.05

If you do one thing this weekend...

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see Bent. Chandra Bocci, Jesse Durost and Ryan Boyle have been hard at work the past few months developing site-specific mixed media installations in the old Liz Leach space. These three exemplify some of the finest emerging artists in Portland.

Chandra Bocci has rightfully earned a reputation as a driven and talented installation artist. She was last seen almost a year ago with Bubble Speak at the now-dead Haze Gallery. This time around she offers Wash, an abstract garden fabricated of "industrial and consumer castaways" that wanders over the gallery ceilings, walls and floors.

Jesse Durost builds on his recent solo exhibition, the Hum of God with Pop Mantra, a suspended collection of verbal fragments on vellum from internal and external dialogues. He elaborates on this visual chatter with an accompanying sounds collage of repetitive, ambient everyday sounds, a reminder of the ephemeral nature of pure silence.

Ryan Boyle stands as one of Portland's most talented, yet elusive young artists. He is rarely to be pinned for a formal gallery exhibition which perhaps makes his obessively detailed 3-D creations even more captivating. Exploring "imagined architectures and fantastical ecologies" in the Greenhouse Effect, he fabricates a minature post-industrial village with commercial cardboard as his primary building material.

Organized by Stephanie Snyder as part of the Taking Place event, Bent is a non-commercial labor of love. To miss this event would be to miss what Portland's emerging art scene is all about: dedication, integrity, innovation and community.

Opening Reception • Saturday, August 6 • 6 to 10p
Located at 207 SW Pine
Exhibition viewing hours • 1 to 6p •Tuesday through Sunday • Through August 21

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on August 05, 2005 at 14:18 | Comments (1)

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If you do more than one thing this weekend...

landscape.jpg  Rachael Allen at FIX

FIRST FRIDAY

Anne Ploeger's "Portraits" at Newspace
Opening Reception • Friday, August 5th • 7 to 10p
1632 SE 10th Ave • Tel. 503.963.1935

Vintage Vandals at Savage Art Resources
Closing Party • Friday, August 5th • 7 to 10p
1430 SE Third Avenue • Tel. 503.230.0265

Rachael Allen at FIX
Opening Reception, Friday August 5th • 6 to 9p
811 East Burnside studio #113 • Tel. 503.233.3189

Gabriel Liston at NAAU
Opening Reception, Friday August 5th • 7 to 10p
922 SE Ankeny Street • Tel.503.231.8294


SATURDAY

Bent: Chandra Bocci, Jesse Durost and Ryan Boyle
Opening Reception • Saturday, August 6 • 6 to 10p
Located at 207 SW Pine

Paul Middendorf discusses the latest efforts of Manifest Artistry, Lifeboat-Hamptons, at Scope-Hamptons.
PORT covered Paul's endeavors here and here.
Saturday, August 6th • 7:00p
Gallery 500 • 420 SW Washington St. Suite 500 • Tel. 503.223.3951

Free Form Film Festival
2005 shorts program, plus live musical performance by Inlake
Saturday, August 6th • 9:00p
The Know • 2026 NE Alberta

FFFF is also at the Clinton Street Theatre with American Astronaut "A Musical Space Western"
Tuesday, August 9th • 10:00p

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on August 05, 2005 at 14:10 | Comments (0)

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Thursday 08.04.05

I'm a man of wealth and taste

Whenever I have to introduce myself, "Sympathy for the Devil" starts playing in my head against my will. Not that you could get any insight from that fact. I am an artist and a writer. I grew up in Juneau, Alaska and relocated to Oregon. I have just recently returned to Portland to live indefinitely after finishing my MFA in Cincinnati.

I am overjoyed to find such a rich, active art scene here. Jeff's observations on the expansive growth of the Portland art scene could not ring truer. Personally, I feel that Portland is sprinting towards greater recognition as a national and international art center, and I count myself among the privileged to have boarded the rocket just prior to launching. I am grateful to be involved, here and now.

My goal in writing for PORT is to enrich the dialogue surrounding the emerging Portland Renaissance, through analysis and critical discussion. I believe that criticism and art grow symbiotically from the same impulse, each can be enriched by the presence of the other, while maintaining independent vitality. Following in the footsteps of Larry Charles ("Oh, you delicate genius!"), I believe neither in the all-knowing critic nor the isolated genius artist. I have come to see art as a social arena which is always powered by interaction and in which both the artist and the critic have free agency. Artists often create descriptions of things not found in the world, things yet to be seen, and it is up to the critic to try and decipher and identify them.

I believe in the relevance of art, that it is not an elitist pastime affecting only those involved, but rather that it is a necessity for the survival of the human spirit. This is as true as it was in the days of the Lascaux cave painters as it is today, although today art takes many forms and exists simultaneously in a myriad of arenas, and the white cubes which replaced the caves have been swept clean of animal bones (mostly).

As I said before, I am excited to be writing about art in the City of Roses, and I feel that much more will be written about this city and this decade.

Posted by Isaac Peterson on August 04, 2005 at 17:49 | Comments (0)

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Wednesday 08.03.05

RACC-ing up a new cultural survey

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The Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC) just released the results of a new arts and culture survey poll backing up the already widely known anecdote that Portland is an extremely liberal, creative city that likes to say it likes to support the arts. Read it here.

Here is just one highlight:

"Portland-area residents are avid consumers of arts and culture performances and exhibitions. Almost two-thirds of the population (72%) attends an arts and culture events at least every few months. Fully one-third attend arts and culture events at least once a month. 16% attend arts events at least once a week."

Ok, but anyone that attends an arts event every few months probably isn't all that serious a cultural consumer, important but not a core audience. The once a monthers are important too but it's that last group that really got my attention...

Posted by Jeff Jahn on August 03, 2005 at 21:38 | Comments (0)

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Thursday Trippin' {East to West}

centurion.jpg Dan Gilsdorf at G5

One of the exhibitions I'm most excited about this month is at what I'm now calling G5 (that's Gallery 500 to you). Dan Gilsdorf takes the bull by the horns with Interstate, an exhibition of kinetic sculptures and installation. Gilsdorf himself calls it “mechanical simulacra as homage to human consciousness”. This body of work embodies rich conceptual ideas exploring masculinity, industrialization, militarization and entropy while conveying the enchantment of mechanized animation. The repetitive and destructive nature of the automata is both fascinating and disturbing. You'll want to catch this exhibition early in the month before it meets its own demise.
Opening Reception • Aug 4th • 6p to midnight • Through August 27
Gallery 500 • 420 SW Washington St. Suite 500 • Tel. 503.223.3951

At Motel, Jessie Rose Vala and Emily Counts unveil their mixed-media installation, The Future Remnants of Dreamvilles. In this ambitious exhibition Vala and Counts create a Victoriana living space, complete with hand-silkscreened wallpaper, custom upholstery, organza boughs and extensive collections of new drawings hung on the walls. Enter a world of wilderness, refinement, danger and mystery in the transformed gallery space.
Opening Reception • Aug 4th • 6:30 to 9:30p• Through August 27
Motel • on NW Couch between 5th & 6th Aves • Tel. 503.222.6699

Local independent press emporium Reading Frenzy presents international art-stars Chris Johanson & Jo Jackson with Casual - Imagistic, a cacophony of posters, editions, video, ephemera, books and more. These Portland-based artists explode their archives onto the bookstore walls with some unseen and unconventional pieces for (purportedly) affordable prices. Not to be missed.
Opening Reception • Aug 4th • 6 to 8p?
Reading Frenzy • 921 SW Oak St. • Tel. 503.274.1449

The Everett Station Lofts host their annual Rooftop party. Also, at Compound, SUPERHERO group show featuring artists from around the globe.

higdon.JPG Kenny Higdon at Artreach Gallery

In one of the more politically charged exhibitions of the month, Kenny Higdon presents Questions for the Christian, a collection of paintings and sculpture. Higdon, whose conceptual work flirts with the darker side of social history, was last seen at Lovelake with the Misadventures of Lewis and Clark.
Opening Reception • Aug 4th • 5 to 8:30p • Through September 30
Artreach Gallery: First Congressional United Church of Christ • 1126 SW Park Ave

Portland Modern delivers its latest installment from Issue No.2 at Gallery 114 with the work of Troy Briggs and Amanda Ryan. Ryan is a Portland native who creates rich abstractions. Briggs' work is more subdued, with distorted figure drawings conveying a sentiment of "elegant sadness".
Opening Reception • Aug 4th • 6 to 9p • Through August 27
Portland Modern at Gallery 114 • 1100 NW Glisan • Tel 503.243.3356

In what may be the last event in their 12th Avenue space, Pulliam Deffenbaugh houses a "best of" Summer Group Show featuring their represented artists. New works by Brian Borrello, the recently departed (for L.A.) James Boulton, Brenden Clenaghen, Anna Fidler, Ken Kelly, Jeffry Mitchell and many more.
Opening Reception • Aug 4th • 5 to 8:30p • Through August 27
Pulliam Deffenbaugh Gallery • 522 NW 12th Avenue • Tel. 503.228.6665

Mel Katz has been a Portland staple for the past 42 years. He held his studio across the street from Motel for much of this time and until he relocated last summer, would drop by regularly to tell me I was either crazy or brilliant for opening an emerging artist gallery. His influence on the city as an artist, teacher, mentor and activator has been sizeable. This week you can catch the kind-hearted curmudgeon at Laura Russo with his freestanding aluminum sculptures. Exploring the interplay of positive and negative space, his colorful and often humorous pieces may seem dated to some but speak to the artist's own aesthetic integrity and historical context. Also showing are Jun Kaneko and Manuel Izquierdo.
Opening Reception • Aug 4th • 5 to 8p • Through August 27
The Laura Russo Gallery • 805 NW 21st Avenue • Tel. 503.226.2754

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on August 03, 2005 at 11:06 | Comments (0)

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Tuesday 08.02.05

The Enchanted Forest: Post-modern Optimism

Justin "Scrappers" Morrison at V-Gun

The prolific and eclectic Justin "Scrappers" Morrison has a new show at V-Gun Gallery, located in the Veganopolis restaurant, through September 10th

V-Gun. 412 SW Fourth Avenue. Tel. 503.226.3400

The best introduction to Scrappers is his own artist statement:

The Enchanted Forest

There is a deep far away forest that we can all reach. It is the wilderness inside. It is your wild side. My wild side is home to lumberjacks, savage scouts, happy hobos, vintage beer commercials, protesters, strange trees, unicorn and Bigfoot. They live the way they see fit and I let them be. Maybe someday I'll go join them in the Enchanted Forest, but until then they remind me to stay wild. All the paint used is recycled, salvaged or eco-groovy house paint. All of the wood was salvaged from dumpsters and houses that were being deconstructed. Recycling is cool, reusing is cooler, reducing your resource consumption and subsequent waste is coolest.

-Justin "Scrappers" Morrison

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Scrappers' paintings are at once delightful and defiant. Almost every piece will make you laugh. Scrappers' painting materials are decidedly humble, yet his world of imagery is fantastic and hyperbolic. Scrappers sets clear limitations on his materials and process, using only recycled paint and surfaces. These limitations liberate his playful, imaginative approach rather than inhibit it. Scrappers' definition of the borders of his world allows him to truly "run wild" within that world. Scrappers presents us with small windows into a complex, humorous, and seemingly limitless psychological space.

Trees elasticize and intertwine. An antique beer can appears in the sky surrounded by a glorious mandorla, drawing bears to worship it as an embodiment of recycling martyrdom. Boy scouts swarm...

Posted by Isaac Peterson on August 02, 2005 at 15:30 | Comments (2)

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Monday 08.01.05

Introducing Isaac Peterson

PORT welcomes Isaac Peterson as its newest staff writer. Isaac is new to Portland and comes to us with lots of art writing experience from Art Week and a recent MFA from the University of Cincinnati. He's emblematic of the hoard of young artists that continue to flood Portland's hectic scene and brings national level experience as a former assistant to Judy Pfaff. His writing style is energetic, informed and expansive. Portland rewards talent fast and Isaac definitely has it. Thanks for finding us after being in town for only two days Isaac!

PORT's energy and scope is due to all of its excellent contributors and Isaac's previous posts have earned him a staff position.

PORT itself is only two months old but the publication has been an exciting success, expanding Portland's international profile. So much so we've become a near daily publication with an avid core of daily readers and an ever growing monthly readership of thousands. PORT will continue to expand our international reach, providing everyone with internet access inside and outside Portland a window on this very active scene while providing a conduit for international information. Our readers are great and we thank you!

Needless to say we are learning as we go along and there have been many recent technical refinements. Also, you'll notice even more sponsors added in September and it's exciting that we have been told we've affected attendance at some of the shows we've covered. We are grateful for all of the flattery and contentious snarking our readers bring both, to our forums and the streets.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on August 01, 2005 at 21:16 | Comments (0)

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